The Landmark Tours team includes (front L to R), Amber Munson, Brennan Mogck, Dallas Lemmers, (back, L to R), Jessica Florac, Mike Lyons, Tara Romanowski, Laura Ludington, Margie Zerbe, and John Lyons. Contributed photo
‘We are passionate about what we do’ at Landmark Tours
Looking for an adventure? Want to see the country? See the world? Landmark Tours offers unique tours from coast to coast and around the globe. Each tour is tailored to bring the traveler a great experience at a great value.
“Our mission is simple… to provide unforgettable travel experiences,” said Mike Lyons, president of Landmark Tours. “Our tours are thoroughly planned, well paced, and very inclusive. We work very hard to build successful partnerships with vendors, such as hotels, airlines, restaurants, museums, and others, which allows us to create a worry-free travel experience for our guests.”
Personalized service is a top priority at Landmark Tours, and the primary reason why so many of its travelers return each year, according to Lyons.
“We are committed to their experience before, during, and after a trip and do everything we can to exceed expectations,” he said. “We are passionate about what we do and we hope that it shows.”
John Lyons, founder and CEO of Landmark Tours. Contributed photo
Landmark Tours offers a variety of tours. Currently about two dozen tours are scheduled for the rest of 2018 and into 2019. United States tours include adventures in Alaska, New York City, the Great Lakes, the Canadian Rockies, the Southwest, Albuquerque (Balloon Festival), Pasadena (Tournament of Roses Parade), Hawaii, New Orleans, Savannah/Charleston/Asheville, an American Heritage Tour on the East Coast, and New England.
“Year after year, New England in the fall for the ‘leaf peeper’ tours is always popular, and these trips always sell out first,” said Lyons. “Every time I go back to New England in the fall it feels like my first visit. That’s the sign of a great destination!
Current international tours includes adventures in Ireland, Costa Rica, and river cruises along the Rhine and Danube.
John Lyons with a group in the Grand Tetons. Contributed photo
“River cruises continue to be a hot item in travel, and we’re going to be expanding our river cruise offerings significantly over the next few years,” said Lyons. “We have classics like the Danube or Rhine River cruises, but will add some lesser-known river cruise destinations in Eastern Europe or even South America.
Each tour is assembled with the traveler’s comfort in mind.
“We select trusted brands, such as Hilton, as quality is important,” said Lyons. “We also emphasize location and want to place guests near the action. For example, in New York City, we are in the heart of Manhattan in the theater district, two blocks from Times Square. Or in New Orleans, we are right next to the French Quarter District.
Haven’t tried a tour before? Landmark Tours can make your first experience a unforgettable one.
“Many people think a tour is just riding on a bus for hours while staring out the window,” he said. “We do use deluxe motor coaches as our mode of transportation, but our tours are carefully choreographed and well paced. There are many opportunities for people to explore on their own and experience the destinations. We also get off the motor coach and create memories with jet boat excursions, river rafting, cooking schools, wine tasting, mountain gondola rides, Broadway plays, and more.”
One thing that travelers should be aware of before taking a Landmark vacation — you will definitely hear a lot of laughter.
“Group tours are a social event, with a lot of laughing, learning, and new experiences – all in a relaxing, hassle- free package,” he said.
Each tour is accompanied by a tour manager. Landmark Tours takes pride in their tours and tour managers, and they are an important part of a successful tour.
“The top priority for picking our tour managers is finding a natural sense of compassion and empathy – people who care,” said Lyons. “This allows them to provide superior and caring service while out on the road. Of course, they must also be passionate about travel and the destinations they visit. We want guests to come home with newfound knowledge.
John Lyons who is the pictured on the right, hitchhiked more than 20,000 miles across the country by age 23. It was his passion then and is still his passion today. Contributed photo
Landmark Tours was born out of the wanderlust of John Lyons (Mike’s dad) who, by age 23, had amassed over 20,000 hitchhiking miles across the United States and Europe. Intent on sharing his passion of travel with others, John began a career as a tour director for Tauck Tours, a national tour company. He led groups across North America for years, becoming intimately familiar with the beauty of the region.
In 1990, John found himself back in Minnesota and working in the insurance business.
“Although insurance paid the bills, travel was his passion, and he always kept one foot in the tour industry,” said Lyons. “He began noticing that Minnesota had a clear absence of quality tour offerings, and the tours that were available were lacking the personalized service that made his experience in the tour business so positive.”
John leveraged his vast experience on the road and began creating his own travel itineraries. With big dreams of a company built on service, his goal was to create an unforgettable travel experience for others that was highly inclusive and of excellent value. It was at this time that Landmark Tours was born.
John Lyons with his daughter, Taylor, on one of his tours in the mountains shortly after starting Landmark Tours. Contributed photo
Besides the carefully planned, unique tours and caring people, another perk at Landmark is its mix of new technology and old-fashioned, personalized customer service.
“Technology has given us advantages no doubt, but people still enjoy working and speaking with another human being,” said Mike Lyons. “Our phones are picked up by Landmark team members, ready to answer your call. Anyone who answers the phone, whether it be an operations coordinator or a graphic designer, is trained to assist with the majority of incoming customer calls. That way, clients don’t need to be greeted by a machine when they call. There is nothing more frustrating than the hassle of pressing numbers until you get to talk to a real person. At Landmark, the person answering your call will likely be able to help with your inquiry. With cell phone, internet, and TV company customer service driving us all mad these days, we’re proud to provide the exact opposite experience when you call our office.”
To learn more about the tours offered by Landmark Tours, visit www.gowithlandmark.com. The webpage also lists upcoming travel shows. The shows feature a 45-minute presentation that is designed to help travelers know what they can expect from a Landmark tour and what tours are currently available. The next show is in Eagan on July 23. Shows are added regularly. In September and October, more than 20 shows are scheduled across the Twin Cities.
To book a tour (some are filling up fast) or to ask questions, call 612-230-2040 or toll free 888-231-8735. You can also email Landmark Tours at firstname.lastname@example.org. Landmark Tours is located at 4001 NE Stinson Blvd. #430, in Minneapolis.